Spring is in the air! Well, spring was in the air last week, but this is Texas, and we never know when that last bit of winter will hit. Even if the weather is confused about which season it is, the calendar tells me that it is time to get outside and start working in the lawn. This cold snap is a good time to start making a to-do list for your lawn.
If you need to fertilize your lawn, now is a good time to take a soil test to understand what nutrients are lacking and how much you need to apply. You can find the soil sample submission form
and instructions at http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/. Be sure to take eight to 10 sub-samples from around the lawn and mix them together when you submit the sample.
Grass is starting to green up but remember your grass should be actively growing before you apply fertilizer. A good rule of thumb is to mow your grass two times before you apply fertilizer. This ensures that the grass is ready to take up the nutrients in the fertilizer.
April is a good time to aerate your lawn to relieve compaction, especially with our heavy clay soils. A hollow-tine aerator will pull plugs of soil out of the ground, which allows oxygen into the soil and helps improve water filtration. Texas A&M turfgrass specialists recommend the hollow-tine aeration as the most effective method, better than a solid tine or chemical aeration. Follow the aeration with a top-dressing of fine compost to add good organic matter into the soil and supply nutrients to the lawn.
If you have winter weeds in your lawn, like henbit or rescuegrass, mow or hand pull the weeds to remove them. At this point in their growth, chemical weed treatments will not be effective. Mow these weeds with a bag on the mower to catch seedheads so they do not spread in your lawn.
Spring is a good time to check your irrigation system to make sure the heads are working properly. We are receiving plenty of rain right now, so there is no need to water your lawn. Wait to turn on your irrigation system until the weather gets how and we have not received rain. Your lawn will have visible signs of wilt to indicate when you need to provide supplemental irrigation. Remember to check your city water restrictions to learn when you are allowed to water this summer. Our lakes are still low, so we need to conserve water.
For more information about lawn and garden topics, contact Kate Whitney-Hajda, Williamson County AgriLife Horticulturist at 512-943-3300.